AMD developing eight-core Bulldozer-based CPU for 2011 release

Summary:AMD's new chip architecture, dubbed Bulldozer, is being highly anticipated next year as the company prepares to match Intel's forthcoming Sandy Bridge processors. Included in AMD's plans, according to Fudzilla, is an eight-core CPU that will be aimed at the server market, but that will no doubt be of interest to performance desktop buyers as well.

AMD's new chip architecture, dubbed Bulldozer, is being highly anticipated next year as the company prepares to match Intel's forthcoming Sandy Bridge processors. Included in AMD's plans, according to Fudzilla, is an eight-core CPU that will be aimed at the server market, but that will no doubt be of interest to performance desktop buyers as well.

The new 32nm design promises to confuse the very notion of cores, however, with AMD referring to the chip's building blocks as modules. Each module will feature a pair of 128-bit floating point units and share L1 cache and other resources -- essentially allowing a module to function as a dual-core unit while making the overall chip more efficient. AMD can place four modules on the code-named Orochi chip to provide an octa-core design -- which is a different approach than, say, Mac Pros pulling together a pair of quad-core Intel processors.

Whether you need to have eight cores in your desktop is an open question, since many apps aren't designed to make use of the processing power from multiple cores. Still, Bulldozer promises a noticeable jump in performance from today's processors; that, along with the bragging-rights appeal of owning the chip with the most possible cores among enthusiasts should help AMD shed a bit of its reputation for just offering good performance for bargain prices.

Then again, if Bulldozer arrives at the same time as the Sandy Bridge eight-core chip, then AMD will find itself in an octa-core war with Intel, which should really test how well its radical re-design can stand up to Chipzilla's latest technology.

Topics: Processors, Hardware, Networking

About

Sean Portnoy started his tech writing career at ZDNet nearly a decade ago. He then spent several years as an editor at Computer Shopper magazine, most recently serving as online executive editor. He received a B.A. from Brown University and an M.A. from the University of Southern California.

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